Tabletop Simulator: SDMB Board/Card game online meetup

Tabletop Simulator is currently $10 on sale on steam, and $7.50 each if you get it in a 4 pack. It’s a sandbox game that gives a framework for being able to create a virtual space for card games, board games, and any sort of tabletop game.

The game comes with some basic public domain games like chess, dominoes, poker, etc. But the real meat of it is the workshop which allows people to create their own content. There’s a range of stuff available there. Re-creations of actual board games/card games, original content like maps and figures for tabletop RPGs and war games, original art for popular games (Fallout Monopoly for example), different sorts of table spaces, and even games based on the physics simulation of the table like tabletop hockey or skeeball.

And of course the best idea I’ve ever heard for a board game variant, Cage Who, where you wittle down from 24 images of the great Nicolas Cage by asking questions such as “Is Nicolas Cage currently on fire?” and “Does he have the crazy eyes?”

The game has also been starting to attract official support from game publishers in the form of DLCs for various games. Currently those are Superfight, Cosmic Encounter Connector, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, and Mistfall. They say only the host needs the DLC, not every player, which is nice. It makes sense, since that’s how actual board/card games work, but they could’ve been greedy. I may pick up some of those.

Obviously some games are based on copyrighted works, so they’re often taken down. So a lot of popular games aren’t available, or are only available for a short period of time. I’ve read there are ways to host games not available in the workshop, but I haven’t dug around on that yet.

Some videos:
Playing Betrayal at House on the Hill
A game of Cage Who
Cards against Humanity
Here’s a video showing the sorts of assets you can use to run a tabletop RPG like D&D

The game has ways of managing pieces like dealing and shuffling cards, determining what cards are private/visible to one player, flipping them up, etc. You can make things snap to a grid where appropriate. You can even have a virtual in-game tablet that you can use as a web browser that exists in the virtual game space, which is a really cool idea. But you can’t program the rules of a game into the mod - so you have to know what you’re doing. You could move a pawn 3 spaces, for example - the game isn’t checking for valid moves, it’s just letting you do what you want. Lots of games are simple and well known, but some may require you to find the rulebook.

I thought we might use this thread to meet up and find people who might want to play games together, maybe even have a regular game night or two if we find things we like a lot. It’s pretty much mandatory to have working voice chat - it’s not terribly social, and hard to communicate if you don’t. I don’t know how well the in-game voice works, but we’ll probably use mumble since we already use that for gaming and it’s excellent.

Take a look through the workshop and see what sort of games might interest you. The workshop is not very well sorted and much of the content is unrated, unfortunately, so you have to search for stuff or look at lots of pages to find stuff you might be interested in. It’s pretty easy to subscribe - you just click on the little plus icon when hovering over the item.

$10 is not very much (and $7.50 if you have some friends who want to split a 4 pack or if you just want to give them a late Christmas gift), so even just finding a game or two you like on there would be worthwhile.

I need to dig through the workshop list later, but so far I’d be interested in playing Pandemic, Cards against Humanity, Dixit, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Superfight, Apples to Apples, and I’m sure I’ll find more. I tend to prefer the more social/creative games to the rules-heavy ones, but I’m willing to try stuff.

So if you’re interested, post what you might like to try, when you’re available, your steam name, and coordinate some game nights. Add me on steam - I don’t want to provide a link because it tends to get me spammers but I should be the only SenorBeef on there.

I picked this up in the sale, and spent last night playing Carcassone with some steam friends using a free mod. It’s a lot easier to deal with than I thought it might be, but still takes a little getting used to.

I think I’ll be using it a fair amount.

Bumping this to see if anyone’s got it, and if they have, what they think of it and what goods mods from the Workshop they’ve found
I’ve been playing various versions of Cards Against Humanity, Fluxx and Carcassonne. The engine works really well for most card games, it seems. There’s a few single player games I’ve got too - such as Dice City and Austerity.
I picked up the Mistfall DLC, which is very nicely made on the simulation, but the rules for which leave a lot to be desired. I’d recommend watching a video or reading up on the boardgamegeek about it if you get it and want to play - don’t fight through the rulebook more than you absolutely have to.

I have Tabletop Simulator, which I got because it was a cheaper solution to an attempt at roleplaying online than Fantasy Grounds. But I haven’t gotten a chance to run D&D with friends yet. Looks like it ought to work.

I’m not actually sure how well it’ll actually work when it comes to the crunch of running a pen and paper RP session with it. I’ve not done it myself as it’s not why I bought it, but I don’t really see what advantages you get from it. Yes, you can roll dice, but you can do that in Roll20. It’s not like keeping character sheets or anything is easy.
There’s miniatures, though, if that’s part of your game

Yeah, the thing is that none of the mechanics of the game are dealt with. It doesn’t remember your stats, your mods, or any game mechanics except for a simulation of having a board and some dice at a table. You can simulate being at such a table. The rest is you doing exactly what you’d be doing at a table – keeping track of your stats, your wounds, etc, yourself.

If anybody wants to try this, I’m game. Someone has already posted setups for the various locations in the Mines of Phandelver, the adventure that comes with the D&D 5e Starter set. I’m interested in running those encounters and thereby working out the possibilities of using Tabletop Simulator as a way to play tabletop RPGs at a distance. One thing I dislike about the system as it stands is that the fog-of-war system is not very nuanced, as it was in OpenRPG where you could freehand draw an area to reveal, and you can’t place miniatures so you as the GM know where they are, but keep them hidden from the players.

Or, if someone would like to GM in Tabletop Simulator, I’d be happy to sign up as a player as well.

I may need to check this out and see how it compares to VASSAL for boardgames.

I think it has potential, especially if it ends up getting a robust community scene. I’ve used roll20 for a few virtual games and have been very satisfied by the experience.

The thing is, I’m not sure that the “simulation” aspect is necessarily a good thing when it comes to long-distance RPGs. The stuff that roll20 automates (character sheets, dice calculations, etc) is actually really beneficial and keeps things moving along at a nice clip. Streamlining is a good thing when you lack the benefit of face-to-face interaction.

Having said all that, I wonder if the simulator itself would be good as an ancillary tool to use in conjunction with Roll20 - using the latter as the primary gaming interface and moving to the former for combat.

I think it’s better than Vassal for boardgames, but not as good as Roll20 for RPGs.

I’m thinking Warhammer 40k…


There are a lot of mods for Warhammer 40k on the Workshop, and many look well done to me (I am not a Warhammer 40k person). My worry would be table scale - the biggest table is huge for board or card games, but isn’t as big compared to the 40k model sets I see as, say, my own dining room table.

On the other hand, there are a lot of mods for it, which suggests to me that someone is playing it. There’s a reddit you might want to take a look at.

Thanks, I will!

It looks like the workshop has a copy of my favorite board game, Neuroshima Hex. Would anyone be interested in playing with me? There’s a brief discussion of the game here.